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This may be simple or trivial, but when writing in the past tense, is it wrong to switch to present tense to use the verb "may be"?

Sharon may be irrational, but it was not completely her fault.

Sharon may have been irrational, but it was not completely her fault.

The first sentence implies that Sharon often acts irrational, and this is something that can be taken for granted. The second sentence does not imply this; it tells the reader that Sharon was acting irrational at a certain point in time, but she is not always like that.

I know it can be jarring to shift tenses in writing, especially in the middle of a sentence. However, I cannot tell whether or not the first sentence with "may be" is disconcerting to read. Depending on the situation, I would use either sentence, but I want to know how the first flows and whether or not it is grammatically incorrect.

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    This does not answer the question exactly, but if I am parsing the question correctly, you want to indicate that she is habitually irrational while excusing her for some of the fault during this one instance. Is that right? If that is the case, I think it would be better written as: "Sharon may have acted irrationally, but it was not entirely her fault this time." This time implies there are other times she acts irrationally, since it suggests you feel the need to specify an exemption for a particular instance of irrationality, which would be unnecessary if there event was a singularity. – Tonepoet Jul 26 '16 at 7:44
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    It's not jarring to shift tenses unless you did it without any reason. (Like I just did.) Both sentences are fine. – Peter Shor Jul 26 '16 at 15:37
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    @Tonepoet I did not make it clear in the question, but the second sentence is closer to my intended meaning. I like the sentence you came up with; in a way, it combines the irrationality of Sharon's character from the first sentence with the time specification in the second. – Symantra Jul 26 '16 at 17:41

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